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Lookout Mountain Laboratory USAFOperationHARDTACK Basic Effects Structures and Materiel (1958)

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Operation HARDTACK I consisted of 35 nuclear tests conducted at the Pacific Proving Ground between April 28 and August 18, 1958. These tests included balloon, surface, barge, underwater, and rocket-borne high-altitude tests. The first test, Yucca, was a nuclear device attached to a helium balloon launched from the USS Boxer near Enewetak Atoll.

HARDTACK I consisted of three portions; the first was the development of nuclear weapons. This was a continuation of the type of testing conducted at Enewetak and Bikini during the early and mid-1950s. In these tests, the weapons development laboratories, Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory and the University of California Radiation Laboratory (later named Lawrence-Livermore National Laboratory), detonated their experimental devices, while the Department of Defense (DoD) provided support and conducted experiments that did not interfere with Atomic Energy Commission activities.

The second portion, sponsored by the DoD, consisted of the underwater tests Wahoo and Umbrella. Wahoo was detonated in the deep, open ocean southwest of Boken Island, and Umbrella inside the western end of the lagoon at Enewetak. The purpose of these tests was to improve the understanding of the effects of underwater explosions on Navy ships and material. These were continuations of earlier underwater testing that included Baker in CROSSROADS at Bikini in 1946 and WIGWAM off the U.S. West Coast in 1955.

The DoD also sponsored the third portion, addressing the military problems of air-borne nuclear weapon defense. Three high-altitude tests featured rocket-borne Teak and Orange at Johnston Island and balloon-hoisted Yucca between Enewetak and Bikini.

Two major aspects of HARDTACK I's experimental program were the development of the weapons themselves and the measurement of the explosive and radiation effects. Also, since the development of a nuclear armed fleet ballistic missile was on a fast track, a portion of HARDTACK I was devoted to testing the warhead for the Polaris missile.

The tests comprising the 1958 Operation HARDTACK I were as follows:

YUCCA, April 28, Pacific (between Enewetak and Bikini), balloon, weapons effects, 1.7 kilotons (kt)
CACTUS, May 5, Enewetak, surface, weapons related, 18 kt
FIR, May 11, near Bikini, barge, weapons related, 1.36 megatons (Mt)
BUTTERNUT, May 11, near Enewetak, barge, weapons related, 81 kt
KOA, May 12, Enewetak, surface, weapons related, l.37 Mt
WAHOO, May 16, near Enewetak, underwater, weapons effects, 9 kt
HOLLY, May 20, near Enewetak, barge, weapons related, 5.9 kt
NUTMEG, May 21, near Bikini, barge, weapons related, 25.1 kt
YELLOWWOOD, May 26, near Enewetak, barge, weapons related, 330 kt
MAGNOLIA, May 26, near Enewetak, barge, weapons related, 57 kt
TOBACCO, May 30, near Enewetak, barge, weapons related, 11.6 kt
SYCAMORE, May 31, near Bikini, barge, weapons related, 92 kt
ROSE, June 2, near Enewetak, barge, weapons related, 15 kt
UMBRELLA, June 8, near Enewetak, underwater, weapons effects, 8 kt
MAPLE, June 10, near Bikini, barge, weapons related, 213 kt
ASPEN, June 14, near Bikini, barge, weapons related, 319 kt
WALNUT, June 14, near Enewetak, barge, weapons related, 1.45 Mt
LINDEN, June 18, near Enewetak, barge, weapons related, 11 kt
REDWOOD, June 27, near Bikini, barge, weapons related, 412 kt
ELDER, June 27, near Enewetak, barge, weapons related, 880 kt
OAK, June 28, near Enewetak, barge, weapons related, 8.9 Mt
HICKORY, June 29, near Bikini, barge, weapons related, 14 kt
SEQUOIA, July 1, near Enewetak, barge, weapons related, 5.2 kt
CEDAR, July 2, near Bikini, barge, weapons related, 220 kt
DOGWOOD, July 5, near Enewetak, barge, weapons related, 397 kt
POPLAR, July 12, near Bikini, barge, weapons related, 9.3 Mt
SCAEVOLA, July 14, near Enewetak, barge, safety experiment, zero yield
PISONIA, July 17, near Enewetak, barge, weapons related, 255 kt
JUNIPER, July 22, near Bikini, barge, weapons related, 65 kt
OLIVE, July 22, near Enewetak, barge, weapons related, 202 kt
PINE, July 26, near Enewetak, barge, weapons related, 2 Mt
TEAK, August 1, off Johnston Island area, rocket, weapons effects, 3.8 Mt
QUINCE, August 6, Enewetak, surface, weapons related, zero yield
ORANGE, August 12, off Johnston Island area, rocket, weapons effects, 3.8 Mt
FIG, August 18, Enewetak, surface, weapons related, 20 tons

Ray Walston narrated this film. Ray Walston was a high profile Hollywood (as well as Broadway) personality to be credited with top secret security clearance to document nuclear weapons development for the U.S. military.

The purpose of this documentary film was to report the results of nuclear weapons detonations experiments applied under an overall joint task force operation codenamed Operation HARDTACK I. Carefully screened members of only applicable committee members of Congress saw this film report, as well as need-to-know employees of the Department of Defense and appropriate executives of the White House.

Periods of silence during this film were strictly intended. This film was carefully sanitized by nuclear weapons experts and Department of Defense officials to remove secret information.

Observers of this film cannot reasonably demand more in quality for this film, and the public is fortunate just to be able to see these films. This film release was not designed to present this film without flaws due to aging and the notorious instability of its original Kodachrome I color film stock. This secret film has been sanitized, with secret portions removed, after the complete version was locked away for decades in top secret vaults, where the unsanitized version remains to this day. The celluloid version of these films are increasingly brittle and very few people have security clearances to view the unedited versions that contain jealously guarded secrets to this day.

The blurriness of Kodachrome I films was attributed to the immense grain of very slow 16 mm ISO 10 color film, as well as the bleeding of dyes in the celluloid. These films were so slow that night scenes had to be simulated using blue filters in daylight. Blue dyes were the least sensitive to light in this stock, and therefore simulated darkness using blue filters. Notice in 1950s cowboy films that night scenes contained long shadows and bright highlights from sunshine, due to this technique of low light simulation required by Kodachrome I.

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This movie is part of the collection: Short Format Films

Producer: Lookout Mountain Laboratory USAF
Production Company: Mountain Laboratory USAF, Hollywood, California
Sponsor: U.S. Department of Defense
Audio/Visual: mono PCM, Faded color, 16 mm Kodachrome I celluloid
Language: English
Keywords: Hardtack; Operation Hardtack; 1958; atomic; nuclear; Cold War; atomic testing; nuclear testing; military; national defense; Department of Defense; Department of Energy; radiation; radioactivity; fallout; radioactive
Contact Information: For further questions and answers, please visit the Atomic Forum: The purpose of the Atomic Forum is to objectively discuss, learn, and archive information related to nuclear weapons development, past and present.

Creative Commons license: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs

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